Current Students

Program Requirements

Requirements to complete the graduate program include course, ethics, and seminar components (information below), annual meetings with the graduate co-ordinator and supervisory committee, a thesis proposal, candidacy exam (for PhD students), final oral defense of a thesis and submission of a thesis. Please visit Benchmarks and Examinations for more information.

Please review the complete Graduate Program Guide for Students and Supervisors. Students and supervisors will need to refer to this guide throughout the program.



Course Requirements 

A total of 6 credits and a thesis are required for the MSc degree. The only exception to course requirements for the MSc degree would be for clinical trainees such as medical residents, who, in consultation with and approval of the graduate co-ordinator, may be exempted. Students are expected to have completed undergraduate courses such as PMCOL 371 and PHYSL 372 or their equivalent. Students deficient in this area may be expected to take these courses soon after admission.

Effective September 2014 (for new students only), MSc students have the option, in consultation with their program supervisor, to complete a lab rotation course, typically during the first year. Students can choose either NEURO 500 (two terms; 6 credits) or NEURO 501 (one term; 3 credits).

  • NEURO 500 involves rotations through three laboratories during the first year. Each rotation involves two months of research experience (six months in total). One rotation may be in the laboratory of the primary supervisor. Although this course is 6 credits, an additional lecture-based graduate-level course will be required to meet the course requirements if students register in NEURO 500.
  • NEURO 501 involves rotation through one laboratory taken outside of the laboratory of the primary supervisor.

PhD students must complete 9 credits, a candidacy exam, and a thesis. An important feature of the PhD program is the requirement that students participate in a lab rotation course, typically during the first year. Students must choose either NEURO 500 (two terms; 6 credits) or NEURO 501 (one term; 3 credits).

  • NEURO 500 involves rotations through three laboratories. Each rotation involves two months of research experience (six months in total). One rotation may be in the laboratory of the primary supervisor.
  • NEURO 501 involves rotation through one laboratory taken outside of the laboratory of the primary supervisor.

Effective September 2014 (for new students only), PhD students must complete either NEURO 500 and one lecture-based course or NEURO 501 and two lecture-based courses from the Neuroscience-approved course list.

NMHI graduate students may take a graduate-level reading course for 3 credits to fulfill their course requirements. However the following limitations apply:

  1. The course must be taken with a faculty member other than the student’s supervisor(s).
  2. The course can be from any department but it must be approved by the NMHI graduate student co-ordinator.
  3. Students cannot meet their graduate student quota of 6 (MSc) or 9 (PhD) credits merely based on a combination of lab rotation and reading courses (i.e., some didactic, lecture-based course work is required).

Students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3 (B+) throughout their program.

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Seminar Attendance

In addition to the required courses, students are required to attend weekly seminars offered in the neuroscience seminar program. All graduate students are required to attend 20 academic talks per year anywhere on campus and at least 10 of these must be selected from the list of formal neuroscience seminars.

Students must complete the Seminar Participation Form after each talk they attend. Participation in these seminars is a requisite for continuation in the program.

There are also a number of special seminars that all graduate students are required to attend in addition to the mandatory minimum of 10 seminars per year. Examples include (and will change year to year): the Annual Alumni Lecture, the Annual Richard B. Stein Lectureship, etc. Notices that these seminars are mandatory will be sent from NMHI.


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Ethics Component

The academic integrity and ethics training requirement stipulates that all graduate students must complete eight hours of structured academic activity in academic integrity and ethics prior to convocation.

NMHI graduate students must complete the following requirements:

  • Complete the Graduate Ethics Training (G.E.T) WebCT course offered by Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGSR). The course can be accessed from the FGSR website. Once completed, the student must provide the NMHI administrator a copy of their results (a screen shot of the "My Grades" page is sufficient).
  • Participate in the Ethics & Scientific Integrity Day organized the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Ethics & Scientific Integrity Day is offered periodically throughout the academic year. Up-to-date information is available on their website.

It is strongly recommended that students complete this requirement early in their graduate program as space availability is limited and fills up quickly.

Once the ESCI ethics training is completed, proof of completion will submitted to NMHI administration from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Students must complete this ethics component in order to convocate.


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Neuroscience Research Day

One day each year is designated as Neuroscience Research Day (NRD). NRD is NMHI’s annual student research showcase event, highlighting the graduate student research within the institute and facilitating inter-disciplinary interactions among students and faculty.

The format of NRD follows that of a typical scientific meeting and includes a keynote presentation from a distinguished scientist from outside of the University of Alberta and presentations by NMHI students.

Student participation requirements will be distributed well ahead of any deadlines. Typically, all students beyond their first year in the program must present a data blitz or a poster. Students in all years of the program must attend NRD. 

Participation in NRD is a requisite for continuation in the neuroscience graduate program.


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